Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Celta Vigo will draw inspiration from Athletic Bilbao’s 2012 victory over Manchester United when they face Jose Mourinho’s side in the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday, says coach Eduardo Berizzo.
A Bilbao side coached by Marcelo Bielsa defeated a United team who had reached the Champions League final the season before 5-3 on aggregate in the Europa League last 16 before losing to Atletico Madrid in the final.
United have the upper hand ahead of Thursday’s second leg, having won last week’s first leg 1-0, but Berizzo said they would approach the game with the same fearlessness as his countryman Bielsa’s Bilbao.
“That performance with Bielsa does serve as an inspiration,” the Argentine told reporters at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
“Our style of play and what we’re known for is pressing high up the pitch. If we can do that tomorrow night, I don’t see it as a defensive tactic.
“It’s a way of being offensive, by trying to win the ball back as far from our goal as possible. That’s our emblem, our identity, if you like.
“This fantastic competition has really given us an opportunity to push the envelope and go through the ceiling.
“Let’s hope we can do that one more time. The boys are really motivated and there’s great energy in the camp. Let’s hope we can put it to good use tomorrow.”
Celta have already eliminated Shakhtar Donetsk, Russian side Krasnodar and Belgian outfit Genk and are seeking to reach the first European final in their history.
While his side cannot compete with United’s European pedigree, Berizzo believes the backing of over 2,500 travelling fans could give them an edge.
“Tomorrow represents a massive hurdle for Celta. This in itself is a motivation,” said Berizzo, whose side are currently 12th in La Liga.
“Having nearly 3,000 people travelling all the way from Spain — even after losing the first leg 1-0, those fans didn’t give up, even against the most powerful team in the world with 70,000 of their own fans.
“We’ve got to go with the attitude that in football, everything is possible.”